i have been reading Robert Greene’s book, Mastery.
i reached the chapter on social intelligence and it talks about having a naïve way of thinking that projects identities, ideal identities onto those in our lives, which of course leads to devastating disappointment when these people reveal themselves with time. And you think, “but how?” because you never took the time to see them for who they really were, you just imagined they were this dream person that you always hoped for. This can apply to any person in your life.
i realize that from the age of 6 to 17 I prayed to have my mother and my sisters back. Every. Day. i imagined how much better my life would be, getting out of my abusive household, where i was punished literally every day for literally everything about myself, getting away from school where i was teased constantly for being smart and being myself. i naively made up stories about how great my mother, sisters, and stepfather were. it was almost like a fairytale that i literally sat at my window everyday, crying, hoping they would come and get me.
this was my naivety
i was unaware of how much this story would hurt me in the future, because since then i have been confronted with the reality of who these people actually are. and it literally wasn’t until i read this chapter of this book, just the other day, that i realized what i had done to myself. the book literally spells it out and how damaging this is.
my mother is not the person i imagined her to be, she is whoever she is. as are my sisters. as is her husband. and they never dreamed of having me in their lives the way i dreamed of having them in mine. and now i really understand. they literally only care as much as they care.
when i was 17, i found out that no one even knew my mother had a son. why? because she never mentioned me to literally anyone in her life.
which explains why she asked me how old i was.
i always imagined that my sisters would be so proud of me and the talents i developed all alone for 11 years. but, that is not true at all. my sister’s friend would actually come to me and tell me how my sister speaks negatively about me, saying, “i’m so surprised you are so cool, because all your sister does is complain about you. she said you were spoiled and selfish, but you’re nothing like that.” my other sister’s friend would say, “your sister got mad at me for coming to support your show, because she said it made her look bad because she didn’t want to come.”
and all these things hurt me, but still i didn’t accept that i was naively painting a picture in my head that my sisters and mother were not living up to. because they literally were not the people i imagined all those years. they were whoever they were.
i thought my stepfather would be some lovely man, who would actually like me. but, no. he didn’t. he told me, “i didn’t need to get to know you, because you are temporary.” when i was a teenager trying to adjust from living in an abusive household to living in the nest of compassionless resentment that i moved to, he told me about my past, “just get over it.” he was the first person to call me a failure and every time we were alone he would drop the smile that was stretched across his face and say something that was revealing who he was and how he really felt about me. since i was 8, he never hugged me, he would literally put his hand out to shake mine and yet somehow i still didn’t accept that is who he is and this is how he feels about me. i thought he would be like my male teachers, one of which said, he thought of me like a son. Another of which cried when he gave me an award as student of the year. but, my stepfather did not see me that way, because that is who he is. and that is okay. he deserves to be accepted and appreciated for whoever he is. he owes me nothing. no one does.
it wasn’t them that was hurting me all these years. it was me. not accepting them for who they truly are. they never lost any sleep over me and even to this day, if they never saw me again, i don’t think they would care. they built their lives without me in it. why am i having trouble understanding this?
it’s my perception that has done the damage. not them.
and they literally never knew how much of a pedestal i had put them on. they never knew just how fondly i would talk about them to every person that i ever knew in my life.
i always imagined my sister being sweet and loving and bragging about me, but im pretty sure she has always resented me for being who i am. and everyone in my life always comes to me to tell me something she has said about me behind my back, from my mother, to her friends, to literally anyone with a pulse. i just kept it to myself, never confronted her and all these years i would defend her to the death, even to these parents. defending her honor. crying to my mother that she can’t kick her out in the middle of the night, because its wrong. walking miles everyday to go visit her because i was afraid she would be lonely and sad. and somehow i expected it to be returned. but, its not, because that is not who they are. when i was in the hospital at the age of 14 afraid that i was going to die, they didn’t even call. they never did and they have never even mentioned it. and i laid in that hospital bed, looking at the phone hoping it would be them calling, but, it wasn’t and they literally never lost sleep over it. they don’t even know what a traumatic moment it was in my life. and. they. don’t. care. i always thought my other sister would be so excited to spend time with me, but she has friends that are built into her life and they are her priority. my mother’s husband is her priority.
perhaps, i am exactly as he said, temporary. he was doing me a favor. and i could not see it. this man who i also defended. who i called the police for to make sure he would be okay, when he was attacked. and then argued with the police when they tried to blame him and kick him out of his own house for something that was not his fault. and later i found out, part of the cause of the altercation was because he wasn’t accepting of me being gay. like how fucking dumb am i? i cried because i thought something might happen to him, but he literally did not care and when it came time for him to defend my honor when later the police wrongly accused me of something, he literally did nothing and it broke my heart. but, why? he owes me nothing. absolutely nothing.
and it’s not like they haven’t helped me in other ways. he bought me a laptop. they bought me a car. they got me into college. i should just shut the fuck up and be grateful.
i never could understand why every teacher, professor, coach, colleague loved me and celebrated me so much more than them. but it’s clear. it’s because that is who they are and we have been living in different realities all these yearrrrrrrrrrrs.
now, i understand. and i get it. i really should move on. and just accept it. my mother will never be who i thought she was. she will never scream from the rooftops about how proud she is of me. she will never make me the number one priority in her life. she will never devote her life to me. she will never be like the mothers of my friends or the mothers i would see on tv, that i would literally cry at the sight of. and it isn’t fair for me to expect her to be. i should just move on and accept that i will be there for myself.
leave them alone.
its like the movie, “he’s just not that into you”
they are just not that into me.
will never be the people you dreamed they would be. they just are who they are. they are focused on their lives and not you. and all these years you have naively believed they felt the exact same way about you, as you do them.
its the same with my aunts and uncles. all those years, i thought so fondly of them. i cherished all the memories i had of them from the time i was 3 and i just imagined they thought of me as much as i did them. but, they didn’t. they literally don’t care and they almost never think of me. and that is okay. it really is.
as long as i don’t expect them to be anything but who they are
just like my mother’s husband said, “get over it, sean”
i have to let that dream go. it has taken me this long to understand
it’s like in the movie angel’s egg, when she discovers that the egg she has been caring for all this time is empty. she had built so many stories around this egg and what was inside, but it wasn’t real. there was nothing in there and when they boy broke her egg, he did her a favor. he showed her the false reality she had been living in. i did this to myself. now i am free.
no one has been thinking about you all these years. they moved the fuck on and they think of you as they gay whoever, who thinks he knows everything and doesn’t do what he is supposed to do and literally no one cares what you went through because they all have their own lives and problems.
there is no person in the WORLD looking out for you in that way.
Every person you experience is a computer. A moving computer. And just like the one sitting on your desk, each of these computers is running programs like Windows Media Player, Safari, Photoshop, etc. The programs on your at-home desk computer are standard. They are exactly the same (for the most part) across the board. But, with the people you experience, these programs are NOT the same, as these programs are not installed from one source, but rather a myriad of sources with varying belief systems or, for our purposes here, laws. For example, the program “love” has been installed in most of us, if not all of us. But, the features and capabilities of this program differ depending on the updates you personally have gotten and those updates come from your surroundings, the influence of media, and the degree to which you listen to your intuition, among many, many other things most notably, “emotional events”.
So, when James tells Isiah, “I love you”, to the unaware computer, there is one story happening here and in media, it would most likely show us this under one lens, a lens we often subconsciously confuse with our own, but, we will get to that later. Perhaps, Isiah’s program, “love”, interprets this to mean, I want to be in a romantic relationship with you and express my love through sex. While James may intend to express, “I see your value and am so grateful to experience you.” The computer that is you uses context, fear, and many other factors to draw up a reality in each situation. As we see, with Isiah and James, that reality is not universal, but rather, personal. And in an effort to under-simplify this, there are infinite variations to this.
So, each of us computers has hundreds, thousands of programs running and none of them interpret our experiences exactly the same using the same “laws”. As you can imagine, this can lead to some real confusion. But, fret not, my friend. Each of us computers also come with another program. We will call it, the “likeness” program. And this program acts as a magnet. It sends out signals to all computers, this signal is not received by the conscious part of the computer, the “you” that you believe you are, but rather, by the unconscious part; the part that keeps you breathing, the part that releases saliva when you chew, and the part that even drives for you when you are not paying attention. And this signal is your…. let’s call it, “vibration”. Constantly, your computer is broadcasting a vibration, calculated by the laws of the programs you are running, or what people often call, your “belief system.” And your computer is always looking for a vibrational match, which is a spectrum as opposed to one possible vibration, because remember, as we stated earlier, there are infinite programming possibilities, like what we saw with James and Isiah. Your computer is aware that surrounding itself with other computers of similar enough programming means interaction with these computers will have more ease. And it is for this reason, that you find yourself surrounded by people you “like”. You think it is your personal taste, when really, it is the “likeness” program effectively running…. your life.
It’s so interesting how we are all influenced by programs we don’t even know we are running, right? It almost seems as though, our lives are automated. Well, to a degree, they are. As a new computer, you are sent to a programming center, for our purposes, we will call that center a “school”. And there you are introduced to programs like, justice, friendship, nation, etc. And over the course of your life, you keep updating these programs or “maturing” and they change. The idea you had of “justice” as a five year old computer, is not the same as the one you hold now, because it has been updated. And while you are conscious of some of this (less than you think), most of this happens without your awareness. But……. you’ve guessed it! There’s a catch. You see each computer requires harmony for it to function properly. Can you imagine how you would feel if you actually felt that you were not in control, but rather that you were being influenced by everything around you? You are, but that doesn’t matter. It just matters what your computer allows the conscious part, the “you” that you think you are, to believe. So! Your computer has another feature we call, “Choice”. But, it’s not what you think it is….
Choice is not a matter of selecting or making a decision. But, rather of making you feel you have made the decision. A quality decision, to boot. Like when a parent manipulates a child into agreeing to watch a movie, that otherwise the child would have no interest in. Or when someone asks you, “do you like Pepsi or Coke?” You believe, in that moment, you are deciding, because that is the function of the program, Choice, running in your computer. But, really, over the years, your computer has been influenced by the likes of Britney Spears commercials, parental choices, and an algorithm of “taste” developed over years of consuming whatever it is your computer consumes the most of. So, when the question is presented, your computer knows the answer is Pepsi, but the program Choice runs “options” and “thinking” to help you further identify with the final choice; Pepsi. A
Now, listen, your computer doesn’t want to betray you, to “lie” to you. It’s more of a white lie (your understanding of “white lie” is deeply embedded in your programming, given what you’ve learned “white” to be). You see, your computer wants you to be the best you can be. But, it believes the best way for you to get there, is gradual change that you can’t see, because it notices how you react to abrupt changes in definition or information, we will call this detail Meta. For example, your significant other is cheating on you. The computer that is you knows this is true the moment it happens, because the moment it happened it became part of your partner’s signal, the one, their Likeness program is broadcasting, their vibration. And your computer has picked this up. Over the years, it has used your past experiences as a sort of retro-active simulation. For example, when your parents were splitting up, they did it slowly; they argued, one parent left for a few days, they stopped talking etc. And so, when the day came, that your parents told you, “honey, we are getting a divorce,” you were not surprised and you handled it “well” or in a way that is not dis-empowering. But, when your best friend in middle school told you they were moving to another state, they day before said move was to take place, your conscious reaction was not empowering. Looking at this information, Meta decides not to release this information all at once, it instead, introduces suspicion, doubt, and questions. And slowly, your computer closes the program “love”, that is being run from your computer to that of your partner’s so that you accept the inevitable update. IF, that falls in line with what your computer believes it should do, its programming. There are infinite possibilities to this. Your belief system or programming may desire to be “wronged” in this way and unbeknownst to you, or subconsciously, looks for relationships where this might happen. Why?
Remember, the computer that is you wants you to be the best you can be, while at the same time, comfortable. So it looks at your programming and it sees updates that are helpful, more empowering. And remember that the Choice program is always running, giving you the illusion of choice. So, what it does is, it puts you in situations that make the growth (updates) it has already decided it will make, necessary. So, if when your parents got divorced, you slowly developed a sense of abandonment and the computer that is you has decided that this feeling of abandonment, which perhaps was useful at the time, helping you to place blame somewhere to help manage a feeling of loss in your less mature years, is no longer useful at this adult stage of computer-hood, it looks for a simulation to enter you into, so that you can make this “conscious” decision to change. You begin broadcasting the signal, “people abandon me” and when you met your partner, they were broadcasting the signal, “I abandon people”. These signals are the same (opposites are complimentary and essentially the same, in the way that dark exists, by definition, because light exists and vice versa, without the one, the other would not exist and so they are the same). The simulation began, all the while, the computer that is you, knew what the end result would be; you “learning” to get past your fear of abandonment. The update was set to happen, it just needed you to feel responsible. Choice. But, it’s not a one way street, because, the computer that is your partner was ready to update as well. The simulation you both entered into is intended to be mutually beneficial. So that you both can make updates to your programs – two computers, one relationship. It’s just the Choice program that wants you to believe that you are responsible, to keep you invested in what is essentially, one giant simulation. So, it created an emotional situation that gave you two choices; stay in this undesirable situation or make this one change, this one update and “grow”. And your conscious resistance to the program that is you is what dictates how long it will take you to accept this update, but it’s already there. And to influence you more, your brain introduces suffering. Fear is what happens when the laws of your programs say, “the result we do not want, is the one we believe will come to pass”. But, the computer that is you, knows that’s not true. But, the only way it can make change is through updating. So with Choice and Meta running, the computer that is you introduces a monster. It is the “source” of your suffering or your fear projected onto something. And in the same way that a mentor might be hard on you, solely in an attempt to get you to learn to push back against them, This monster and the corresponding simulation are designed to give you something to overcome, behind which lies your update or growth. And because the programs Meta and Choice, require what we mentioned before, you feel a sense of victory, of earning on a conscious level, when in “reality” the computer that is you has orchestrated the entire experience to keep you from a shock to your system that would interrupt your entire experience. And to make you feel you have earned it. You might ask, “how does the computer that is me know what updates to pursue?” Well, it listens to the conscious you. You are constantly shown options for what you could be. Every person you meet, every character you see in some sort of programming (they call it programming for a reason) calls you to answer “yes” or “no”. Yes, I would like be physically fit, no I would not like sail the open sea. And the computer that is you hears all of this, it is always listening to what conscious you says, and it creates a graph that ranks what it believes to be most important to you, based on the emotion you have attached to it, and it calls these ideas, “goals”. The computer that is you calculates your current status and what it would take for you to reasonably accept the changes it would take to get you where you want to be and that’s how it decides what signal to broadcast in order to invite people and experiences into your life that, following the laws of Meta and Choice, make you feel responsible for your gradual, inner change. And when you consciously align with this goal, the computer that is you, goes into overdrive, even altering your tolerance for pain, vision, and various other factors to make it easier for you to achieve this goal. (More information on this can be read in The Upward Spiral, by Alex Korb) This may sound somewhat simple, but it gets a bit more complex. You see, although the conscious you wants these changes, it can still resist them, even with Meta and Choice running. And when you resist these changes, you experience stress or the inability to accept reality. The feeling that corresponds with this experience is supposed to be similar to rumble strips or sleeper lines, growlers; the raised pieces of asphalt on the side of the road that communicate to you, that you are driving off the road. When you feel stress, you are driving off the road. You are resisting the updates the computer that is you is making and the easiest way to end it, is to accept it. But, as we computers continue to develop a world of unnatural comfort, free of even the healthiest of stresses, our conscious selves resist these stresses even more. This is why most computers in this existing society are “unhappy”. They have found comfort in their “reality” and do not wish to change, the one thing your inner computer never stops doing.
Now, let’s introduce the internet. The internet allows computers from all over the world to communicate with each other at a speed that we will refer to as “instantly’. Now, remember, the Likeness program on your computer has settled itself in a community of similarly programmed computers, remembering that even “opposite” computers are similarly programmed. But, now, your computer can communicate with any computer, as though it is here, in its own community. Interesting, right? One thing that causes conflict is a difference in reality. You see, the camera on your computer, or your eyes, only use 10% of what is physically before it tor produce the image you see or “sight”, the rest is rendered by your brain in real time (Hear Donald Hoffman discuss this further). It is for this reason that, last night, when you were on a stroll through your neighborhood, you stopped and began walking slowly as you saw what you thought to be a small dog. The computer that is you ran all sorts of simulations; the dog is lost, the dog is dangerous. the dog is your neighbors, the dog is crazy, etc. And as you slowly arrived at the dog, you saw that it was a brown bag and not a dog at all. Your camera system, which we will no use to refer to your eyes and the mechanisms in your computer that create sight, saw something. It was dark and far way. It ran the possibilities, given context and past encounters on similar experiences, and came back with its best guess; dog. The thing is, the computer that is your brain does this in. ever. single. moment. Often, it is “right” and when we can all agree that the guesses are brains are making are the same, we say it is, “reality”.
Have you ever had this conversation with your friend?:
Should I wear the dress I wore last Saturday? The black one? No, it’s blue. That dress is definitely black. It’s blue! Most likely, neither of you is “right” it is most likely some color that neither of your camera systems are able to recognize and so, you both are seeing the best guess the computer that is you is making based on past color verification. Now, given what we have learned about our camera systems, how can this perceived “difference in reality” get in the way of communicating, existing, and understanding when connected to the internet? Well, this perceptual difference that shapes your reality goes beyond color and expands to literally everything, from; the meaning behind the tone someone is using, bias, humor, etc. Imagine you have traveled to another country and you are speaking with someone in your native language, their second, perhaps third language. And this person calls you “pathetic”. Based on what your programming has taught you, this word, is an insult, it is meant to harm you. But, according to their programming, which is actively translating this code from one language to another and using context from its own community far different than yours, what they are saying is, “how unfortunate for you”. Confusing, right?Imagine you are a person that is sexually attracted to “women” and you turn to a friend and say, “wasn’t her ass amazing?” And your friend responds and says, “I didn’t notice”. You are experiencing a difference in reality. You see, your friend is not sexually attracted to women and so does not quantify their beauty in the same way you have done. They have perhaps noticed her smile or how intelligent she is, thinking of her as a potential friend or business partner. You are experiencing different realities. Now imagine the following conversation with your friend: Let’s invite some people over for some drinks Yeah, I’ll text James. Cool, I’ll text Isiah. Who is Isiah? You know, James’ best friend. Who? His best friend, they are always together. Don’t know him. Yes, you do, you have seen him literally a million times. I don’t think so. You have, he’s handsome… tall… he’s black. Oh, the black guy. I mean, I guess we can invite me. You see your programming, as a “white” person has taught you that there is inherent value in being “white”. Hell, you are “white” And it has picked up on all the subtle differences in social capital that everyone has. This nose = $$$$ in social capital. This height equals -$ in social capital. The computer that is you has collected all this information over the course of your entire life (collected from interactions, exposure to media, etc) and created a profile of characteristics both physical and otherwise, that have the most social capital and interest to you. And just as mentioned earlier, when discussing goals, it discovers what is most beneficial to your social goal, based often in knowing what type of person you gain the most from knowing and being known to associate with and it blinds you to all other things to help you achieve your goal of associating with this type of person. It is for this reason, you did not remember Isiah, because the computer that is you decided he did not have value. In the same way, that you didn’t notice, that woman with a “nice ass” was accompanied by a friend, one you also did not assign value. But, remember, there are infinite possibilities to how this can play out depending on numerous factors. Let’s say you meet someone named Brian. The computer that is you runs an assessment and decides his worth.
Where are you from?
What do you do?
Where do you live?
Your brain has decided, “ehhh, I have nothing to gain from associating with this computer based off my understanding of his value and my projection of how the rest of the world values him. And then, your friend comes over and says, “Oh, I see you’ve met Brian. He’s how I got my invitation to this party. His dad is the CEO of Campbell Soup”
Suddenly, Brian has a lot of value. This is what conscious you will notice, but what it will not focus on is that initially you believed him to be of no value. You saw the color of his skin, you heard he lived in Camden, NJ, and that he worked as an intern. But, what you didn’t know is that he lives in Camden, because the successful business that his father runs, which he interns for, is located there.But, remember, this was no accident. The computer that is you knew that you had developed this unconscious bias, it also saw on the graph that it had created for your life, that you desire to be a major leader in the world and it calculated that the major change necessary to reach this goal, was to end your value system, unconscious to you, based on race. The computer that is Brain had developed a sensitivity to these sorts of experiences, which he encounters all the time. And he aimed to get past this, and so he broadcast the signal, “test me, to see if I have finally learned to stop taking it personally when someone decides I have no value based on the color of my computer”. And so, the two of you engaged in this rendezvous. The computers that are both of you have already made the updates, but needs you, based on the laws of the program Choice, to accept this new (to you) reality. If you do, you will experience a sense of growth and warmth and when you continue on in your journey, you will be grateful to have learned such a lesson for yourself. If not, you will continue to experience stress, each and every time you behave in this way, until you either learn, or cement yourself in a life of misery, caused by your inability to update (mature) and spend years wondering why you have this emptiness deep inside of you. And remember, the possibilities of laws, programs, beliefs, fears and the combinations of them are infinite making yours and everyone else’s path extremely unique. But, the goal is the same: Growth.
Whispers. The answers seem to come in whispers which are hard to hear when you are giving your attention to that which shouts out at you the loudest. Every other week, I unfollow 20 or 30 people on Instagram, to rid my feed of low vibration entertainment. And it is for this, my feed is often changing. The past few days, posts published by Santino Rice have been showing up first in my feed. And the captions have caught my eye.
I read it and I cried. I made an agreement with myself to live in a place of gratitude more and more each day. And yet there are but few posts by those I follow that are centered around gratitude. Is it mandatory to share your gratitude on Instagram? No, of course not. But, by habit, by unconscious following, due to a lack of deliberateness, I had been giving my attention to everything BUT what my actual desire was, on this platform. And a mere echo of, what felt like. a genuine expression of feelings I conjure within myself daily, was so moving, I shed a tear. Reading the line, “Deepest appreciation… for your friendship and always seeing me. You are such a gift!”, I thought, does anyone in my life truly see me? As a gift??? Do I see anyone as a gift? Am I capable of observing it? Am I truly presenting myself? I remember the first time, as a child, someone asked me what I wanted. A question so unfamiliar to me that I burst into tears, because I didn’t understand how to answer the question. “Whatever everyone else wants” I responded. Could it be that I had become so accustomed to accepting that which I did not desire, that as an adult, I subconsciously sought it out, because the feeling of displeasure had become so normal? How many times have I found myself in a room with people who saw straight through me… and stayed?! Due to a lack of deliberateness. Due to unconscious accepting. How could I possibly hear the whispers of belonging when my ear is pressed to the door of denial?
I recently started watching, “They’ve Gotta Have Us”, “The rise of black actors as they have gone from being the backdrop to calling the shots. This is the inside story of the turning points of black life on both sides of the lens…” as described by Google. It seems, I am at a personal turning point myself. Somehow this programming, discussing the macrocosm of the American Film industry, seemed to describe the microcosm of my social existence. Things I had convinced myself were truly my imagination were being so articulately described. But, as we all know, it is not what happens to you, it is how you respond. And, again, I had been responding with unconscious acceptance…. But, I no longer accept this acceptance No matter what the subject, no matter who does or doesn’t agree, no matter the social pressure, if something does not align with my desire and my dream of Life, I will not participate. .Do your eyes light up when I enter the room? Because my eyes light up at the love I have for myself. And not only that, perhaps I should focus on those that my eyes light up for. Perhaps those places will have fewer people. Perhaps these settings will be less popular. Perhaps those I know now will have no interest. But, it is not my business to maintain the interest of others, in the same way, it is not their business to maintain mine. It is OUR business to follow our hearts and step into the fullness of who we are. No matter the subject, no matter who agrees, no matter the social pressure. And so I gleefully release the disempowering habit of unconsciousness acceptance. What healthy relationship with myself or anyone else, could I truly build on such a principal? Perhaps graciousness and purposefulness, deliberate creating are what is called for to hear the whispers of Love
How can it be that I have devoted myself to Meditation, Mindfulness, and Love and still I am overcome with this feeling of loneliness, despair, and suffering?
This is the thought I found myself juggling with five days ago as I sat on the nightstand in my room crying, unsure of how I would move forward from an unexpected setback.
How must I adjust my perception, my way of thinking, my reactions to the happenings of this world, in order to not only survive, but to Thrive in this life?
Little did I know, The Universe had already begun fixing its mouth to whisper a response into my anxious ear. You see, the next day, February 29, 2020, I would go on a trip that would change me in ways I could not possibly imagine. An Ayahuasca Trip.
I had been meditating in Chapultepec when, out of desperation, I asked the trees, “Please, help me. Show me who I must be in order to move forward in Peace, Love, and Gratitude.” In that exact moment, I received a message from a Shaman, who I had considered soliciting the help of, in the form of their meditation services, just the week before.
“How Serendipitous,” I thought. Going out on limb, I asked the Shaman what other services he offers, to which he responded, “I lead Ayahuasca ceremonies, the next one being this Saturday, February 29.”
How curious! I had recently been invited to such a ceremony that would take place on that day by some people I randomly met one month ago, but it had been canceled.And now, as I sit amongst the trees, calling out for help, another opportunity arises for the same day?! I took this as a sign and accepted.
It was the sight of the trees swiftly passing by that calmed me, as I sat during the two hour bus ride from Mexico City to Tepoztlán. “If you get hungry, keep drinking water,” the Shaman encouraged during our voyage. Leading up to the ceremony a specific diet and abstinence from herbal and sexual activities is required in order for the Ayahuasca to have its desired effect. Not sure of what to expect, I finished my bottle of water as we approached a giant gate, the only entrance to a body of land that lay hidden behind what seemed to be an even larger, enclosing wall. The Shaman knocked and the door opened to what very well could have been the most beautiful garden I had ever seen, littered with peers of equal beauty. They were all there for their first experience with the ever sought after, Ayahuasca.
We laid out our sleeping bags and blankets in rows throughout the garden in preparation for the ceremony, which would last the entire duration of the night, entirely outside. Laying the groundwork, the Shamans thoroughly explained their Knowledge of, Relationship to, and Experience with The Ayahuasca. “If a Jaguar, Snake or other animal appears to you, remember, it is not real, do not be frightened, instead, open yourself up and say ‘I love you,” was the suggestion of one of the Shamans to the group. I had previously read that such hallucinations were common in these experiences, but it was made clear that nothing can be promised, exactly. For the Ayahuasca helps illuminate on the subject of your previously set intention, but everyone’s experience differs based on their resistance, state of mind, and even still, unknown factors. Ayahuasca has been known to help people with depression, addiction, and even to move further along in the path to enlightenment. We all had fears, past traumas, and self doubt we hoped to work through that night. But what exactly was to come, we did not know.
Every hour for six hours, the Shamans offered us a serving of The Ayahuasca. Following this, they sang to us with the accompaniment of various instruments as we laid on our backs, staring at the stars, waiting for The Ayahuasca to take hold. “Pay attention to what you see, what you hear, what you feel.” I followed these instructions for the first two hours and two corresponding servings, but I hadn’t felt anything yet.
“If this doesn’t work, it’s okay, I Love you and we will find a way, I promise.” I said to myself as hour two neared completion. It was in that moment that I looked to my right and noticed the woman next to me, now sitting up, crying.
What is she going through?
Beyond her, was a man grunting, and shifting from seated to standing, to kneeling,to leaning every 3 seconds or so. “What is going on?” I thought. I don’t feel anything yet.
It was now hour three. The Shamans Approached me.
How are you feeling?
Do you feel the effects of The Ayahuasca?
Would you like another serving?
Five minutes had not passed when suddenly it seemed as though the grass was moving beneath me and my blanket, sweeping by like water along the edge of shore.
I started to feel uneasy. I sat up.
I kept repeating this, but I didn’t know why.
Comfort was escaping me and I began to move between positions trying to catch up with it, but it evaded me still. I looked over at the gentlemen beyond the woman next to me and I now understood, perhaps, what he was going through.
How do you feel?
Everything is Peace and Love and so if you feel uncomfortable, you must ask yourself why…
That’s right! In the midst of sensing this discomfort I forgot that I was here for a purpose. And so I began asking The Ayahuasca how I could change, what I must do. Please, help me. I closed my eyes and I saw another set of eyes looking back at me, in what I can only describe as an abstract, two dimensional, pop up book jungle, with black and white stripes everywhere. While I did not expect to see this, it was not frightening, it was oddly familiar. The discomfort increased. I continued to shift, at one point, I put all my weight entirely on my head. I looked up and saw the silhouette of something in the darkness. “Is that a human?” I heard the question leave my mouth, but I wasn’t entirely sure who asked it. But, if it wasn’t me, who was it?
Who am I?
More questions leaving my mouth, the source of which, I was still unsure. I found myself stumbling to my feet, I don’t remember even getting up. A shaman approached me.
How are you feeling?
I don’t think I’m a person.
It was in that moment, the Shaman put his hand on my chest. I looked at his face and it looked, physically the same, and yet it was not. He was not human, he was an Angel or an other worldly being, it was obvious, but there was no clear evidence to explain this. And his touch was impact-full, and instant understanding of Love and Care, in the way that, without saying anything, a mother can give a simple glance to her offspring and they understand. Exactly. What. She. Means.
I am the Universe and I love you exactly the way you are.
My body instantly became calm, I entered a state of shock, in that, I had never considered that it was possible for anyone to Love me completely, exactly the way I am, let alone THE UNIVERSE. So many questions arose. How did I feel about myself? How could it be possible that I didn’t believe I deserved to be loved fully? Why did I imagine that Love came with conditions. I couldn’t respond. One note left the Shaman’s instrument and it sent waves through my body.
I can see the color of that sound.
Another note. And another. And another.
The discomfort returned. I looked up to the sky and as I did, I realized there was howling. Ten. Fifteen. Twenty dogs were not barking, but howling in the distance. Why? It was completely silent aside from the music and singing of the Shamans and that had been going on for hours, so why now? The discomfort returned.
Who am I?
This question again. Who is asking this question?! The dogs continued to howl and for the first time during this ceremony, I stood up straight. Completely. The discomfort still there, but not nearly as bothersome, because something else was at the forefront. I felt the way I was standing. It was not how I stand. It was different. I began looking over my shoulder. I looked at everything, only over my shoulder. Why was I doing this? It was like I was a completely different person. I could feel the way I was carrying my face. It was sinister. I could feel it. Why was I doing this? The dogs howled. I listened.
Why was I saying this? The dogs know what? What do they know?!
And suddenly… I knew… I wasn’t me… I was Satan.
It was clear. It was shocking. I. Am. Satan. How could I be Satan? Me? What? No. But, I felt it. And I looked around at all the people in varying degrees of self discovery, at the ceremony and I became fearful. For them. They don’t know that I am Satan. I don’t want to hurt them. What am I going to do? The howling increased. The Shamans drums reached a climax and suddenly, a familiar, yet very distant sensation appeared. I knew I had experienced it before, but it took me at least a minute to remember what the feeling signified. I touched my face. My nose was running. Both nostrils. Oh yeah, I knew that. It had been running for almost an hour now. I had forgotten. But, what was this feeling?
You see, my entire conscious life, there is one natural occurrence I had been afraid of and somehow managed to avoid. I don’t know how. I don’t now why. But, I always felt successful, in that, I routinely escaped this experience. In my entire life, I can count on both hands, the amount of times I remember it happening. It was for this reason, I couldn’t quite remember what the feeling was telling me. I looked down at the ground. I saw a plastic bag. I remember they had been handed out to everyone at the beginning of the ceremony. But, why? Oh, it was in case… you felt…. you needed…. to throw up! Yes, that is what this feeling is communicating. I’m about to….
I just barely managed to fit my ENTIRE head into the bag as this black substance come shooting… No. Flying. from my mouth. It was uncontrollable. And as I felt the pain, I remembered why I had always abhorred this feeling. My abdomen, completely concave. I didn’t think it was possible to go that far inward. It continued and continued. And all I could think is, “how long will this last”. All my life, this was the experience I may have dreaded more than anything. It always induced so much fear. But, I knew it was necessary. And that it was temporary and so I stopped fighting it. And that is when it ended.
I sat in the grass. And stared at the bag. One of the Shamans immediately came over.
Don’t worry about this.
They disappeared. And I sat there, grateful for the Peace. Ah, Peace. But, the Peace I was experiencing was not just due to the cessation of my hurling. I was at Peace. Everything was at Peace. The dogs were no longer barking. Everyone around me was still. It was as though I vomited out all the past trauma and fear. And perhaps what my mind represented as the “evil” inside me.
It was gone!
I looked to my left and saw the silhouette again.
I love him.
Why did I say that? Well, because I do. I looked around. I loved everyone. I was in Love. With Everything. I didn’t know it was possible to feel this at ease. What a Blessing!
The night continued to illuminate more and more details of existence to me. And, as this took place in Mexico and all conversations were happening in Spanish, I was often thinking in Spanish. As I laid on the grass, I was attempting to form a sentence in my head that began with, “I used to,” but what was that word… Solita. No, that means alone. What is that word? Solita. No. That is not the word. Solita.
The ceremony concluded at around 8am. We had a closing circle, where everyone shared their experiences. The full details of which are perhaps to Divine for this publication.
That is not the word. When I get home, I will finally look up this word.
Solia…”I used to” THAT was the word!
As I traveled home, I remembered, there is a song called “Solita” by Kali Uchis. So, I played it and danced as I listened.
It was in my late twenties, just before my Saturn Returns, that it became clear to me; there is a pattern, a formula for the experience of life. At that time, I couldn’t imagine what it was, but I knew I so desperately wanted to discover it. I could see that all the excuses I was making for my current life situation, were not unique to me. And that there were others who, despite facing the same obstacles, were growing and evolving into empowered individuals. How did they manage to uncover the truth… the way? It was becoming more than clear that the choices I was making, the beliefs I was holding, and the thoughts I was juggling with were not conducive to creating the life experience of my dreams. And yet, it was all I knew. And so… I began to break. To break down. To decompose…. very… very… slowly. I spent years becoming conscious of the unconscious. Discovering hidden beliefs. Uprooting fears from childhood. Examining my perception of myself, the world, and who “I am” in that world. Taking on new practices; mediation, Qigong, semen retention. Slowly and yet all of a sudden, it hit me. The source of my suffering. Imagine you are the captain of a ship and somewhere along your excursion across the ocean of life, you discover there is a parasitic monster on board. Killing crew members in the night. Throwing important resources overboard. Giving birth to fear. What might you consider doing? “Find it and kill it!” screams your second in command, and the crowd roars in agreement, lifting sticks and swords to the sky to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. You lead the charge, of course, in an effort to demonstrate your authority and because… you care. You come up with a plan, the details of which you share with no one. You’ve set your trap. Boom. The creature is trapped. And you plunge your sword into it, and you are met with a surprising sound. Glass. Shattering. You strike a match to illuminate the scene. And as you look down at the ground you are faced with broken glass, reflecting that which is above. You are faced with yourself. Slowly and yet all of a sudden, you remember doing it all. “I guess I did stab the cook in his sleep, but he deserved it, I said ‘no salt’. Yeah, I guess I did throw all the compasses overboard, but it was to teach the crew a lesson. Sure, I remember biting Christoph’s neck and drinking all his blood, but in all fairness, his blood was pretty sweet.” No, this is not a Dracula Origins story. Yes, it is how I felt, when I discovered that the only thing getting in the way of me experiencing the life of my dreams, was me. Is it possible to be both, the victim and the assailant?
Regardless of the circumstances that led to it, I made beliefs and these beliefs led to thoughts and these thoughts led to actions and these actions led to suffering. Being a victim of childhood abuse, neglect, and bullying is a double sided sword, in that one has the experience of being abused and one can very easily develop the idea that problems only come from the outside world. You stop looking within. It can happen with anything. Race, Gender, You name it. The moment someone does something “unjust” to you, it is very easy to become cursed to only see the “faults” of others and not your own contribution to the “problem”. You become a thermometer of life constantly reading and being guided by the temperatures of others, as opposed to a thermostat, setting the temperature of the room yourself. And it was in this moment, that I developed. Compashion. No, cumpashion. No, that’s not right. Compassion. Sorry, it’s just that the word is still so relatively new to me. I started thinking about others for a moment, especially those I had a history of unpleasant experiences with and what I realized was… They are all people, with dreams and fears. And as I looked at the Uber driver who told me to get out because he imagined I couldn’t possibly be with this group of white people and that perhaps I was trying to rob them, I thought…. “I love you”. I just spent YEARS uncovering my unconscious beliefs and mental programming and deep down, the truth is, I still love you despite yours. If you were in danger, I would help. If you needed water, I would give it to you. If you were standing in the way of a moving vehicle, I would tell my white friend to tell you to get out the way pull you to safety. Because the truth of the matter is, even as I stare at you, the knife still in your hand and the blood dripping to the ground, I still love you and I know that the person you are actually trying to hurt, is you, who you see reflected in me.
It is clear that the people of this world I admire most are not immune to the obstacles I have faced, but perhaps they deal with them differently. When my life stopped being about “what other people were doing to me”, it became about choices. Normally, as I see white woman approaching on the sidewalk of San Francisco, I would cross to the other side to avoid seeing her clutch her purse tightly or look over her shoulder as we both wait for the light to change. But, when I stopped making my life about others, I stopped doing those things. I stopped shrinking. I stopped assuming. I stopped participating in the idea of race. And I started Loving. And a feeling of peace settled in my heart as I recognized the love I had for everyone despite their beliefs and actions. And then I sat there, all peaceful and aware and grateful for the changes I was able to make within myself. But, something still lingered.
The truth is, I moved to Mexico because I wanted to die. Sure, I stopped blaming people for my problems. Yes, I have been able to transform so many disempowering beliefs. Hooray! I have managed to reach new levels of self discipline. It seems I have managed to change so many things that were not working for me, and yet I still haven’t figured out how to manifest the things I have longed for. The desire to be the performer I always imagined I would be, with the career I always imagined could be, had not faded and its realization did not seem closer. The more I grew, the more distance I felt between me an others. I have so much love in my heart now and I don’t now how to express it or where, to whom? Who is listening? And for the first time in my life, I allowed in, the possibility that none of my goals may ever come true. I sat there, and imagined a world where that was possible, and I couldn’t see myself in it. Abraham Hicks says it is your strong desire for something that keeps you from it. And in this process of healing and growing, I have alienated myself to the degree, that at times it feels like it is all I have. And now, I have to give it up? I am incredibly grateful for all the experiences I have had that have shown me what I want, what I don’t want, who I wan to be, who I don’t want to be. And the funny thing is, when you look back, sometimes the dimmest of times still manage to somehow look romantic. But, as I went to the park today, to meditate, all I could think is, “I wish I could become a tree and stand in this spot forever.” But, perhaps, one day, slowly, and all of a sudden, I will realize that I everything I have ever wanted has always been available to me.